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President Obama welcomes Mayor Garcetti

City News Service | 10/28/2013, 3:46 p.m.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met with President Barack Obama today during his first visit to the nation’s capital since he took office July 1.

“The president wanted to personally welcome the mayor to Washington in his first trip, and they had a good discussion,” Garcetti spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.

Garcetti tweeted:  ”Great to visit with @BarackObama at the White House today.” He also thanked Valerie Jarrett, a White House senior adviser, and David Agnew, deputy assistant to the president, for their “hospitality.”

Garcetti met separately with Jarrett to talk about a Los Angeles River revitalization project and other issues, Curry said. Also in that meeting were City Council members Bob Blumenfield, Gil Cedillo and Mitch O’Farrell.

Garcetti has a meeting scheduled with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx  and plans to ask for federal funding to help build a people mover at Los Angeles International Airport and to expand the city’s commuter rail network.

“I’m fighting to make sure L.A. gets its fair share from Washington for our critical infrastructure and transportation projects,” Garcetti said of the taxpayer-funded trip.

Garcetti told KNX-AM radio his meeting with Foxx will include discussion of “ways that we can bring mass transit into the airport.”

“We’ll probably have a people mover,” Garcetti said. “We can probably do this in six years. I know that seems like a long time, but around here it’s not. We might even be able to accelerate that.”

A planned Crenshaw Line connecting the Expo and Green rail lines will run near LAX, but it will not stop directly at the airport. The existing Green Line stops 2.5 miles from the airport.

“We cannot be a world-class airport if we don’t have a public transit link,” Garcetti said during the question-and-answer session on KNX.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and other council members are also in Washington this week to lobby on behalf of a Los Angeles River revitalization project.

Garcetti and the City Council earlier this year officially backed Alternative 20, the most expensive and comprehensive of four revitalization options being considered by Congress.

“We’re at a key moment in our efforts to restore the LA River and I am making it clear to Washington that L.A. deserves Alternative 20, the most robust option and the only one that equitably shares costs,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti is expected to stay in Washington until at least Tuesday to attend Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard’s “LA River Day” event.

Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Bob Blumenfield are also part of the delegation of city leaders going to Washington, D.C., to show support for the Alternative 20 river plan.

The group also includes City Engineer Gary Lee Moore -- recently named interim port director -- and Public Works Commissioner Barbara Romero.